Repetition Is the Secret
Many writers have written about the secret to success, secret to successful financial management and several other secrets. To me, it is only a secret when you don’t know about it or you might have known it before but forgot it completely.
You don’t need the meaning of repetition because I’ll be doing it again (repeating myself). Secret is simply something not known to you or others might have been trying to keep it away from you. You simply remain in the dark because it is a secret.
I remember when I was in primary school precisely class seven. I should confess before telling you my story that I normally do things instantaneously what my mind has convinced me to do if within my capacity there and then. We had done the end of year exams and had passed not so well but the fact remains that I was the top student so naturally I was expected to join the next class. Surely I did as was the people’s expectations.
Since I not always do things to please people, I found internal conviction that I was not competent enough to be in class eight. Yes, I was the top student but with low marks. I knew where I was weak in and so I had to repeat that which I was weak in. I remember clearly when my mathematics teacher was teaching on the board and I found my hand changing in my exercise book the class to read seven. I erased the class eight and wrote seven against it. I waited patiently for the first break so as to take my books and desk and move to class seven.
When it was break time, I did exactly as I had planned and went on to class seven. My friends could not believe their eyes. They said behind my back and others on my face that I was a coward and feared the national exams that were to come then towards the end of that year. Their words were just a passing wind. I didn’t take that to heart. I strongly believed that negative critics are always everywhere to discourage us. I couldn’t allow their words to affect me and so listened and sent them to recycle bin.
The school head teacher who was teaching us Kiswahili came to class seven and found me there seated comfortably. He was at first thinking that probably I had come to borrow something and I would leave since he had come in. He hesitated teaching waiting for me to get out but I fished out from my little bag Kiswahili exercise book. He was perturbed and his voice betrayed him when he stammered, “Gideon er er what are you doing here?” I didn’t have any explanation. “Do I say I want to repeat again? Or I want to learn? I didn’t even know that repeat again is not correct grammatically. I took the former for a reply. He jabbered, “Repeat what? Anyway see me after this class.”
On seeing him later, he dismissed my petitions and in fact called my dad there and then to inform him of what he called uninformed decision. I didn’t know what to expect of my dad’s response because I had not informed anyone of my decision and I guess that is why he referred to it as ‘uninformed decision’. Do you think I knew what that meant? My dad simply dismissed me without giving me any room to provide evidence to substantiate my pleas.
I went to the head teacher later and explained myself out thinking that by doing so he would be a favourable vessel to convince my dad otherwise after himself being convinced of my need to repeat class seven. Though young as I was, I knew that a way to a man’s heart was through the stomach. I didn’t have anything to give my head teacher for food. I don’t mean bribe but real edible and delicious food but could take any form even money but I wouldn’t call it bribe. Since there are many ways of killing a rat or a man perhaps, I tried another method because the first seemed impracticable. I started by praising him on how he has been good to us and how he was the best teacher I have ever met. I went on painting him of how he was an understanding person and by that he was drawing closer to my net. I could tell all this by how he unusually leant forward in his comfy chair. Slowly I pulled that net ashore. “Sir, you see, I have no stronghold subjects now and the exams will be in a few months’ time. I have this feeling, no; it is now a conviction that I can do better if I repeat a year so as to acquaint myself with all the areas I am weak in. Will you allow me to repeat?” He took a sigh and looked me in the eyes. What he said next was enough to tell me that he was not in the net I was pulling. “I have been wondering what you were driving at when you lavished all these praises on me. I appreciate anyway. Thanks but my decision is final. Didn’t you know that I am a man of one word? Add that to your list so that next time you use if need be in giving praises about me.”
I went away dejected but I knew not all the fish must enter into a net. “He is smaller for the net and so it couldn’t hold him.” That was my consolation. I finally decided to do class eight the way they had decided with my dad.
When the results came out, I had not passed very well. I had average marks. I was tired of getting average always and by trying to change my position I got barricades on the way. It was now evident to them that I was not good enough and I couldn’t join a good secondary school. To avenge myself on them, I wanted to repeat class eight on a different school, a private school specifically because I was in a public school. This was not easy because all the schools I tried turned me down. I didn’t give up but time couldn’t allow me try more schools. My mind then was singing though in a low tone, “East to West, Home is Best.” And all I could say for a reply was, “I knew that. Did you have to say?”
I went back to repeat in the same school and decided to have a tunnel vision towards my focus. I didn’t want to know what people were talking behind my back let alone know if they were talking in the first case. All that counted for me then was me, my books, my teachers for consultations and my parents for love, support and care. Other people who in one way or all the ways didn’t help me towards my target were crossed
written on the last page of my book.
By working hard and not doing hard work, God saw me through and rewarded me accordingly. I passed so well and was then able to join a good secondary school which was dream since the time I heard of its name. High school life passed so swiftly and soon was in university definitely after passing so well again from high school.
University life as dictum has it was different from my expectations. I thought I graduated to an easy life where I would read when I wished to and I would go wherever I find my legs taking me any time of the day. I realized that the work load was an upgrade of what I was doing in high school. It didn’t come to me that the same principle that was guiding me in primary school would come handy then in university until I was in my second year. It was one morning that I woke up to read again what I had read the previous night though I had not understood well. Surprisingly but predictably, I found myself understanding everything. I then conclusively said: Repetition is the secret; repetition is the key; repetition is the trick.
On presenting a talk to some high school about repetition being the key, I was met with bursts of laughter. They thought I was just making fun. They couldn’t decipher how repetition is the secret to the so much sought after success. In responding to their laughter, I asked them this: “Have you read before what your teacher has come to teach?” For fast readers and curious learners, they might have read before. The next time they are reading or reviewing whichever word they will use is just repetition of the same work. We cannot just grasp everything at the first reading unless we are genius. For most people, the first reading enables them to retain at least 20%. It requires more effort and more repetitions so as to retain more. The more ones read over and over the same things, the more they are at a position of saying them even without looking at the book. The higher the chances that one can explicitly explain with little or no reference at all to the material they read from.
Repetition is not only a secret in the academic field but also in all other aspects of life. The story of Thomas Edison and other renowned people who never gave up the pursuit of their goals are people who repeatedly did things so as to succeed. At the first trial, it is unlikely that one just succeeds unless luck accompanies them. Luck will not be with us always so we need to have this little gem of repetition with us to keep encouraging us when the going gets tough. We need to just repeat what seems hard twice or thrice and we’ll find it better than it was initially. Failure comes into existence when repetition dies. Failure would be non-existent had we been repeating things several enough to succeed in life.
Have you failed in football? Have you failed in business? Have you failed in your academics? Have you failed in life? For most their answers will be “Yes” but let me tell you that you never failed but YOU GAVE UP. You failed to repeat it again. I know I have repeated myself by saying repeat it again but that is what I meant, doing it over and over just like the word repeat it again is repeated. Look at where you think you failed and repeat what you failed to repeat. That will be one of the several ways of being sure that success is yours. Repetition is the secret because you didn’t know or perchance laughed when you first heard it. Repetition is the trick when you know when and why to apply it. Repetition is the key when it has worked for you and you are preaching the gospel to the others. How many at times have you said this to yourself? “I wish I had tried and failed?” You know it is better to say, “I tried and failed” and not “I failed because I didn’t try.” A negative person or rather who is pessimistic will say, “I repeated but failed” and the optimist will say, “I repeated and I failed.” There is a big difference between the two words. The use of “but” in the first one implies negativity and probably there is no hope again but the second statement gives more information but that does not imply the end thereof.
Since you have known the secret, please repeat what you are doing and see the fruits. Tell others and it becomes your key. Constantly apply in several situations if not all and it will be your trick.